Posts from the ‘Education’ Category

InWorldz Relay For Life: History Made.

Today marks the day that Relay For Life entered another world. For the last 7 years Relay For Life has been a part of Second Life. Today it as stepped into another world, the virtual world of InWorldz. Today History was made. More in the link.

InWorldz Relay For Life: History Made..

Relay For Life InWorldz Highlights: Why I Relay?

We have been working closely with Relay For Life, and promoting the battle against cancer.

Relay For Life InWorldz Highlights: Why I Relay?.

24 Hour Black Out In Protest To New Internet Censoring bill.

Well known sites such as Wikipedia will shut down their sites in less than 13 hours in protest to the next American internet Censorship bill.  The proposed legislation called the SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives in October of 2011 by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith and a group of 12 co-sponsors.  The bill will change the way we use the internet  as well as companies who relay on it by barring online advertising networks and payment facilitator from doing business with website that might be involved with copyright infringement. It could also bar search engine websites from find them.

For more information of the Wikipedia black out Click here

WTF is SOPA by TotalBiscuit

 

 

Depending too much on Pills and Syrups? There are alternatives.

Have you heard of the cautionary tales of Donna Bishop, the woman who overdosed after taking self medicated drugs? Or the tales of the millions of people who are addicted to pain killers? What about the story of people becoming addicted to cough medicine?

To clear things up, Donna Bishop’s sad story is not a cautionary tale but an unfortunately event. According to the www.dailymail.co.uk Miss Bishop, after feeling poorly took Paracetamol pills then drunk a cup of Lemsip. Also though it may seem impossible, but a lot of people in Britain and all around the world are addicted to pain killers, and it also seems that we have become a nations that have become so depend on over the counter medication that we do not see the dangers that we put ourselves in from time to time. There are a few questions that need to be asked, such as, can we live without modern medicines such as pain killers or have we become so dependent on them that we can not live with out them? And do we need to look out for legal drugs as much as illegal ones when some individuals abuse them so much? And have our dependence on medicine blind us to the dangers that come with taking pills and other medication?

Scientists have explained that there are certain ingredients in pain killers and cough medicines that can actually be quite addictive, if taken in a large doses or frequently. This ingredients are called Condiene also known as Promethazine which can be found in paracetamol pain killers such as Nurofen and other helpful over the counter products. While this is a major factor of what is opened to us, another is whether or not we have gotten to a point where we don’t think about the consequences of not taking the right dose. Normally we all take, when we have a headache, two tablets in a day then our headache goes away, this isn’t the same for Chris Carlsson, a 25-year-old Student, who has had chronic headaches since he was 13 years old. He has at least 5 different kinds of medications. One to help with his pain which he takes twice daily, an over the counter brand, another morphine like which has a side effects, therefore he has to take another set of pills to deal with the side effects and a vitamin pill every day to help keep the other 4 under control. He comments that he could live with taking his meds but it would be rather painful while others might not be so lucky. He thinks that a normal headache is caused by many reasons and that we should try alternatives before finally using over the counter medicines. “Some medication we can’t live without, we shouldn’t take too many, but we use it within reason. It is the reason why we have them.” Goes on to comment that, “ We need to watch out for everything in the topic of drug abuse and accidental overdose. We need to look at what we are taking, read the instructions if you’re not sure, it is really hard to OD if you’ve read the label properly.”

I don’t think that we have been blinded by our dependence, those who know how to take meds take them properly and those who aren’t really use to it or haven’t been taught how to use it are the ones that might be blinded by it and put themselves in danger.”

It seems that there are many alternative medicine to our conventional medicines. Home made remedies are equally advised while searching for help sites online. Acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and minerals, according to the online side MayoClinic, offer some relief to those who are suffering from headaches. For those who don’t want to rely on modern medicine to help them get rid of a cold do it the ‘natural’ way. While searching the web for experts and alternative remedies, a website called Web MD, gave clear and helpful hints on how to get rid of a cold. From drinking plenty of liquids to how to steer away from getting a sore throat. These websites as well as a quick visit to your local GP should help you feel better in no time. 

Basic Viewer 2 – An in-depth look at what you’ll see the first time you log on

Basic Viewer 2 – An in-depth look at what you’ll see the first time you log on.

Second Life: A Glimpse into the future of Humanity?

Second life is a very compelling topic for anyone who has ever heard of it. For those of you who aren’t aware of this phenomenon. Second Life is a virtual world, which was created in 2003 by Linden Labs. It is a game, but this game does not have levels, aims or goals, it is simply there for its users or residents to live out their second lives.

I came across SL a few years ago, before I went to university, sitting around my laptop looking for games to play. It never crossed my mind that I was looking at something that would have such an impact on life. It wasn’t until recently it popped up once again in one of my lectures. Second Life had made an impact on Journalism! Second life had several ‘inworld’ newspapers which have made such an impression on the journalistic world that it has caught the eyes of theorists, Bonnie Brennon and Ekira dela Cerna, who wrote an remarkable eye opening article called ‘Journalism in Second Life’.

With that discovery, I started to wonder; where else has this phenomenon had spread to? What else has Second Life created or change? In Brennon and dela Cerna’s article, they explored Postmodernism in SL and the subject of creativity within journalism as well as the ‘blurring of the line between the real world and the virtual world.’

There are a number of issues have developed in Second Life:

Capitalism

Second Life has a growing economy and actually uses money called Linden dollars or L$ after its developer. It didn’t take long for many stores began to profit off  the need for virtual goods,  offering clothes, furniture and other items in exchange for L$.  It is possible to get a job within SL such as hostesses, dancers and DJs as a way of earning L$.

Body Image

In Second Life, users are able to edit their ‘avatars’ to be any shape and size. This could be a serious topic

Second Life 'Resident'

when dealing with body image between men and women. Many ‘residents’ are skinny, tall and have the ‘ideal’ body within this virtual world. It is quite rare that you’ll find someone who doesn’t have the ideal shape.

Relationships

Within Second Life it is possible to have a relationship, get married and even have virtual children.  Sexual activities are also possible within SL, but have been heavily regulated (due to several individuals trying to sue Linden Labs) and have been given its own piece of land or map space for mature content.  The most infamously known relationship within this virtual world is that of a British woman who divorced her husband because he was having an affair within SL. It is possible through this virtual space on your computer, for users to feel betrayed and have true feelings even though it is a game.

Creativity

Those who use Second Life have shown a remarkable kind of creativity. Many have shown skills in virtual building, entrepreneurship, tailoring, music and others. There are now schools and universities within SL that teach the basic to an  advance level of clothes making, building and other courses needed to survive within this virtual economy.

Schedule from Caledon Oxbridge University in SL

Then there is the point that others just want to socialise:

Resident BreeElle Adored comments, ‘It is a venue to meet a large variety of people I would never in real life get a chance to know. And learn more about other beliefs and cultures.

Another Resident Dave Horngold says, “To me SL is just a big chatroom.”

Whatever the reason, Second Life is making quite an impact on our society, it has been featured in literature, parodied in films and have even made its mark amongst our society (having been sued several times).

Futurist Ray Kurweil famously stated, “One day we will leave our bodies behind and uploads our brains to the virtual world to explore the universe at the speed of light.”  Although we are not yet able or ready to upload our brains and leave our bodies behind, Second Life might be a primitive version of what might be around the corner.

References

Second Life’s Economy

Relationships, Marriage and Partnerships

Caledon Oxbridge University

New Journalism in Second Life

Second Life and the Body

Chatting with Stacey Patton

Platform (my university’s magazine) had proposed a theme about ICONs, everyday people who touch the lives of many. For the issue I interviewed Stacey Patton one of my favourite authors of all time.  Unfortunately it wasn’t to be…so I’ve decided to instead place the interview up on here.

Enjoy.

Please tell Me a little about yourself and what you are known for?

I’m a 31 year-old African-American writer living in New York City. I work for the NAACP Legal Defense and

Stacey Patton

Educational Fund which is America’s first and oldest civil rights law firm established 70 years ago by Thurgood Marshall. He and a small army of other black civil rights lawyers believed that education was the key to achieving equal rights and freedom for millions of black people who were enduring poverty and racial strife in this country during segregation. I believe in the organization’s mission and the work that we do to advocate on behalf of those who are pushed to the margins of our society.

In addition to my work at the Legal Defense Fund, I am pursuing my doctoral degree in African-American History at Rutgers University. My dissertation is titled – Why Black Children Can’t Grow Up: The Construction of Racial Childhood, 1896-1954. I’m also an advocate for foster and abused children. I travel around the country speaking to diverse audiences about the impact of child abuse and adoption on our youth and families. I also conduct workshops with teens, ministers, social service providers and parents to explore culturally sensitive child rearing. I’m also working on the sequel to my first book.

Tell us a little about the book you’ve written?

My book is a memoir that I began writing when I was foster child. It took many years for me to write because I was still growing up, still trying to make sense of my circumstances and still healing.

That Mean Old Yesterday tells the story of my life as a child growing up in an abusive adoptive home and how

That Mean Old Yesterday Life of Stacey Patton

I got free. In particular, it details how I escaped the child welfare system through my pursuit of education. While in foster care, I committed myself to studying hard so that I could eventually earn a scholarship to boarding school. Once I gained admission to prep school I continued to use my educational opportunities to strengthen my mind, to broaden my perspective on social ills, and to unhinge myself from ignorance so that I could become a productive civic person and a contributor to society.

My book particularly speaks to the issue of corporal punishment in African-American families in the United States. I’ve always been disturbed by the public embrace of whipping/beating black children. Don’t get me wrong, hitting children is something that doesn’t discriminate. This behaviour stretches across class and race. But there is an historical specificity to the problem in African-American life that I wanted to address. I knew that I was getting beaten because it happened to my adoptive parents, and their parents, and their parents’ parents who were slave. The history of slavery and racism bled into my adoptive parents’ modern-day child rearing techniques.

This kind of family bullying has devastating consequences for children, families, schools, and society writ large. It stunts a child’s physical, emotional and intellectual growth. Once I broke away from the lash I was able to become a better student and one who believes that conflict can be resolved, not with violence, but with an astute mind.

How hard was it for you to grow up in the environment you grew up in?

It was pretty difficult. First, I hated being adopted. I felt like a child that came from nowhere. I deeply yearned to know my history. It was hard looking around the dinner table at people who shared not a stitch of genetic history with me. I wanted to know the circumstances surrounding my adoption and I grew up tortured by questions – Where are my real parents? What do they look like? Who do I look like? Will I ever see them? Are they alive? Was I loved? Or was I just rejected?

Second, growing up in an abusive home was a nightmare. I was always walking on eggshells, trying not to make my adoptive mother angry. I was always told to stay in a child’s “place,” to be seen and not heard, speak when spoken to. I felt powerless, voiceless, insignificant and unloved. It was also frustrating to grow up in a black community that embraced the perverse violence directed at children. Black comedians joked about whipping kids. Preachers preached about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. Women at hair salons scoffed at white people and other blacks who used words and non-violent techniques to raise children.

I yearned to do better, to be better. Childhood for me was like slavery. I was always plotting that moment of freedom.

What is your mission surrounding the idea of corporal punishment and adoption?

I am currently working on a new program called Spare the Kids. It will be a non-profit that brings Positive Discipline to poor and minority communities in this country. What I find is that there are many people who want to change the way they interact with their children but they don’t have the tools and techniques. So I’ll be using new technology, online media, and workshops to bring this to communities for no charge. I want to make this a grassroots effort that catches fire so that we can dramatically reduces the rates of abuse, the numbers of young people who bully others, who shoot each other in the streets, who act violently later on in life in their intimate relationships, and who end up in prison.

On adoption, I am supporting the push for adoptees rights in this country. We want to have access to our birth certificates and records surrounding our adoptions. Currently, there are laws in many states that don’t allow us this critical information about ourselves.

What role did education play in your life?

While in foster care, I committed myself to studying hard so that I could eventually earn a scholarship to boarding school. Once I gained admission to prep school I continued to use my educational opportunities to strengthen my mind, to broaden my perspective on social ills, and to unhinge myself from ignorance so that I could become a productive civic person and a contributor to society.

There is currently a financial situation in the UK that threatens to take university away from the poor by raising the tuition fees of our institutions. This would resolute in many potential students being unable to afford university. What is your stance on this issue and have you heard of it in the US? Does the US have the same problem?

We are having similar problems in the United States. Tuition fees are rising. Middle-class and poor students are being shut out of higher education. Actually it’s beginning before college. Public schools are having their budgets slashed drastically. Teachers are being let go. Classrooms are crowded and so on. The hardest hit communities, of course, or poor and of colour.

The Recession has deeply impacted higher education. People can’t get loans and they can’t find jobs to help support themselves as they pursue education. I think the problem is deeper than with the universities. In my opinion, this whole capitalistic structure needs to be fixed. Homes are too expensive. So is food, medical care and other basic costs of living. In my wildest fantasy, I wish the entire country could sit at a table and find a way to reduce the cost of everything. If we don’t invest in the education of our citizens of all backgrounds then the future is doomed.

What are your views on Education and being able to go to university?

Education is empowerment. But it’s also got to be useful and prepare young people for real life and to be marketable in the workforce. A problem we are seeing here in the U.S. is that even those who successfully graduate from top universities still can’t get jobs because the economy is so bad here. America doesn’t produce much of anything. We are a consumer society. But if people don’t have jobs they don’t spend money. If people don’t spend money then things fall apart here.

I’ve taught at the university level and so I understand the kind of impact that deep thinking can have on students. Just one semester can plant seeds of change in a student’s mind. What they learn can correct old assumptions and inspire a new direction. So I think higher education should not just be an exercise in filling student’s brains with abstract thoughts and useless ideas so that they can sit in an echo chamber with like-minded people. Their education should equip them with the tools to go out into the world and break down barriers and do war with ignorance, poverty and other social evils instead of just reinforcing the status quo. Some people think this is a pretty radical idea.

What would you say to the students of Nottingham Trent University who are thinking about leaving university because of this problem?

Well, of course I say stick it out. You’ve got to finish. You’re already in the door despite the tough times. Do your research and find ways to get your hands on support and financial resources so you can finish. I say, think about the slaves who yearned for education but it was against the law for them to learn. Think about those who sought out an education but didn’t have books and whose schools were burned down. Their sacrifices paved a way for you, for all of us across the globe. If they could unshackle their minds in the midst of such dire strife, you all can find a way to finish at Nottingham Trent.